Bear Creek Mountain

View of the Goat Rocks from Bear Creek Mountain

Due to an oversight, I'm writing this post about a year an a half after the fact so I can't quite remember all the details. I do remember getting up not particularly early to drive the 3+ hours to the trailhead to hike Bear Creek Mountain. The last part of the road going up to the trailhead was in pretty miserable shape but I managed to get there somehow in my sedan without any issues. There were several vehicles at the trailhead when I got there. The trail itself had some signs with some ambiguous closure language detailing a fire and to call the Naches ranger district for information. It didn't look as though this trail closure was stopping anyone else and I neither smelled nor saw any smoke on my drive down. I had come too far to turn around at this point so I went for it. On the trail I got turned around somehow and started going downhill several hundred feet of elevation towards Tieton Meadows before I realized my mistake and turned around. Between the Tieton junction and the climb to the summit I didn't see anyone, but on the return, I saw several hikers and a bunch of bow hunters, one spooking me a bit as he did an elk call.

Now I had heard that Bear Creek Mountain was an amazing hike, but in all honesty, I wasn't all that impressed with it. Sure there were some pretty fantastic views from the summit. If you have never seen the Goat Rocks, I guess it would be worthy, but after backpacking the PCT through the Goat Rocks, I couldn't see how Bear Creek Mountain could compare. Bear Creek Mountain is east of the crest enough to feel like it is in a very arid and dry region. The hike I did was pretty easy as most the elevation gain was done in the car and the trail itself mostly follows a ridgeline until the final thousand foot summit push. Perhaps if I had hiked from Tieton Meadows or even Conrad Meadows, I would have felt more accomplished on this hike but honestly, Bear Creek Mountain left me feeling kind of meh.

Section 3 Lake
Sign has seen better days
Ambiguous language on sign had me scratching my head. Trail is closed, yet still open to summit???? After the long drive, I decided to hike to the summit. Others were doing the same so I din't feel too bad about it.
Ambiguous language on sign had me scratching my head. Trail is closed but open to summit???? After the long drive, I decided to hike to the summit. Others were doing the same. This sign was at the Tieton Meadows Trail Junction.
There are some nice meadows on the hike.
There are some nice meadows on the hike.
Summit in view
Junction with trail to Conrad Meadows
Junction with trail to Conrad Meadows
Summit in view just below the final elevation push for the day. Also the only snow I saw this September day.
Summit register. I didn't bother signing. Seemed silly since I drove most of the way here.
Summit Benchmark
Goat Rocks


Rainier View
Adams in view


Looking out at the tiny Section 3 Lake


Driving Directions to Bear Creek Mountain's Section 3 Lake Trailhead (Taken from forest service website): From Packwood, WA take US-12 E for 27.5 miles and turn right on Forest Road 1200 (Tieton Reservoir Road) and follow for about 3 miles then take a left to stay on Forest Road 1200 to drive around Clear Lake and follow for 2 miles. Then go right on Forest Road 1205 and follow for 2.7 miles. Turn left on Forest Road 742 and take a slight right on Forest Road 1204 and follow Forest Road 1204 about 6 miles to the trailhead.

Note, Last 6 miles of road are pretty rough.

Hiked 2013-09-14

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